This horse has vaulted 2020 Ferrari SF90 Stradale

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SF90 Stradale prances straight into record books; sets a blueprint for Ferrari’s bold hybrid strategy

 


A world of firsts for Ferrari as its new SF90 Stradale flagship goes digital
A world of firsts for Ferrari as its new SF90 Stradale flagship goes digital

While the new 2020 SF90 Stradale is the first plug-in hybrid Ferrari, it won’t be the last. Petrol-electric propulsion soon will be a staple of the prancing horse stable.

“This is the [step]-off project for the new architecture,” Ferrari’s chief technology officer Michael Leiters revealed after the Stradale’s Maranello unveiling in late May. It would be the foundation for future mid-engine models, he said, and contained little carry-over content from the company’s existing mid-engine 488 family. Ferrari’s embrace of hybrid tech promises a new era of four-figure power outputs – at least for Europeans.

The Stradale’s combined system output is 1000 metric horsepower. In the unit familiar to Australians, the number is 736kW, enough to vault the Stradale to the pinnacle of performance for a road-legal Ferrari. It has lapped the company’s Fiorano test track in exactly 79 seconds, eclipsing the LaFerrari supercar’s record of 79.70sec set in 2015. Acceleration claims are stunning: 0-100km/h in 2.5sec and 0-200km/h in 6.7sec. Top speed is 340km/h.

Unlike the limited-edition LaFerrari, the Stradale will be part of Maranello’s regular line-up. Execs call it a “range supercar” and it will be priced as such. “Despite being a supercar it will cost less than the LaFerrari [over US$1.4 million at launch in 2013],” said Enrico Galliera, Ferrari’s marketing chief. “And being a product in the range it will cost more than the 812,” he promised, referring to the company’s $610,000 V12-powered sports car.

The Stradale is sure to wear a price tag of $1 million-plus when it arrives in Australia. Deliveries will begin in the first half of 2020. Globally, says Galliera, around 2000 customers have placed orders and there’s a long waiting list.

The SF90 Stradale blends overt visual drama and covert aerodynamic sophistication. Its two-section active rear spoiler that Ferrari describes as a “shutoff Gurney”. This patented design varies downforce according to a control logic that takes multiple factors into account. The car’s interior also marks a great leap forward. Instruments appear on a slightly curved screen with resolution and clarity to rival Audi’s Virtual Cockpit. There’s a head-up display (about time), a new steering wheel design, and a between-the-seats gear-selection switch designed to evoke the open-gate manual pattern of Ferraris past.

But it’s surely the powertrain, with a twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 at its heart, that contributes most to the SF90 Stradale’s allure. Though closely related to the F154 3.9-litre engine of the 488, its cylinder bore has been increased to 88mm and its combustion chambers redesigned. These and other alterations increase maximum power to 574kW at 7500rpm. “You can consider this engine is totally new,” said Leiters, not without justification.

The V8 is aided by three electric motors, the most powerful of which sits between the engine and the all-new eight-speed transmission. Reverse is electric-only. Identical electric motors power the front wheels, making the Stradale all-wheel drive and explaining its explosive off-the-line acceleration. The electric motors add 162kW.

With eDrive selected, the Ferrari uses its front-mounted motors to drive up to 25km at speeds up to 135km/h. But twist the manettino to Qualify and it uses all three motors to the max, prioritising performance above efficiency.

“The peak power you can have only for a certain amount of seconds, but this duration of time is enough to do every racetrack in the world,” said Leiters. “The most challenging one maybe is the Nurburgring,” he said. “We have available the full power in Qualify mode all that time.”

IN FOCUS

Flexible Motors

Add up the outputs of the SF90’s motors and you get more than the 162kW electric boost maximum claimed by Ferrari. The front-axle motors make 85kW each and the one between engine and gearbox 150kW. Problem is, the car can’t use it all. “This is due to the limitation of the battery,” tech chief Michael Leiters said. The good news? “This installation of about 320kW allows us to be very flexible in apportioning torque to the rear, or to the front, on the left, or on the right.”

Select eDrive and the SF90 Stradale uses its front-mounted motors to drive up to 25km at speeds up to 135km/h. Silently. EV haters, that’s your cue...


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